Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas about personal and professional development.

Archive for August 2010

Idea’s space, one year now !

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Idea's space, one year now !

One year ago, I decided to launch a blog. By the time, I was moved by several motivations to face such challenge. I was already used to write articles for a newspaper for a small non-profit organization, and to ensure the edition of it. I was really glad to make such exercise I was not used to do. But the limited diffusion and the lack of feedback was a bit a break to my motivation.

In November 2007, I was starting my own activity as freelance consultant in the financial area. I was aware that I had to develop other skills and to work on specific aspects a freelance career implies. In the financial activities, we are not directly concerned by marketing aspects, but as you probably know, a freelancer has to think about….everything ! At that time, I was already member and user of social media like LinkedIn, and I noticed the increasing power of such tool, the importance to gain on visibility on the web.

I remember a meeting with a partner, talking about his future project about an expanding concept, the Personal Branding. This concept, born in the United States, is consisting to build our own image, based on our talents and skills and the services we can provide. Few weeks later, I found a book about the Personal Branding written by Olivier Zara, a French consultant and strategist. I will not explain and detail all the explained matters of the book, but I discovered that when I thought about my freelance career, I started a questioning process: what is my goal, what are my skills, what I like to do. In fact it was a bit a part of personal branding exercise.

In this book, Olivier Zara dedicate a chapter about social medias and the potential of such tools, as an opportunity to gain in visibility on the web. This concept is called your numerical identity. In this chapter, he explains how to increase your reputation, by sharing your professional experience, your ideas, your values, and the different tools to do it. One of these tools is a personal blog. Olivier Zara mentions that around 90% of the blogs on the web are ..inactive blogs, for the reason that to make a blog is an exercise implying regularity and discipline. The given advice is first to participate to forums, to other blogs and to interact on a regular basis. If you succeed to pursue this exercise during few months, you are probably able to make live a blog.

This was the beginning of the story. This is for me an exceptional experience. I am not the right person to judge about the quality of this blog. The two challenges when you are making a blog, is the regularity of postings, but also the quality level of the postings. By doing this on a regular basis, you are developing your creativity, improving your style, the inspiration is coming more easily by interacting on an ongoing way in forums and other blogs. This is also a way to move your reflection forward about the subjects you are inspired by. The feedback is also important in order to know where we are, to see the trend of the evolution of such exercise: comments, or increasing of visits every month, are motivation keys.

My goal is to pursue this exercise and to gain in visibility. There are two ways to pursue that goal: use the incredible potential of such tools, but the most important is to maintain and improve the quality of contents.

Thank you to all my readers.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 31, 2010 at 19:13

Posted in Human capital

How to make our potential growing ?

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Marc Sluszny, a trader eager of adventure and extreme sports

Each of us, we dreamt to do extraordinary things but often, we are blocked by our beliefs, our fears. If we doubt sometimes about to start a project or to do something, it is because we are sometimes aware about our lack of experiences and we are measuring the risks to be taken to face a challenge and to reach a goal. Does it mean that it is impossible to reach our dreamt goals? The key of such question is how to grow our capabilities.

I was looking to a video about an interview of Marc Sluszny, a Belgian citizen living in Antwerp. Marc Sluszny is a trader, but also an eager fan of extremes sports and adventure. He already experimented sports like sky surfing, ocean racing, car racing, diving in middle of sharks. In the interview, he was asked what the motivation to do such extreme sports is and what his feeling is when he is making such performances. By doing such sports, Sluszny wants to demonstrate that if you have enough courage and motivation, you can do anything you want. Each time he is facing such challenge and succeeds it, he has a wellness feeling, and is trusting a bit more on himself. He is increasing also his capacity of self-control, explaining that he has always fears when he is facing a risky challenge, but he is learning to control his fear. Probably that each of us, we would not be able to face the same challenges, but the question is where are our limits, which challenge can we face, and how to push our limit further?

Let us have a look on our professional background. Most of us, we started our career by having junior function with basic responsibilities. By our daily experiences, we are learning and experimenting a lot of things, we are performing tasks and processes and gaining more control on it. We are expanding our knowledge, and going step by step to an assigned or personal goal. Each integrated concept or knowledge gave us the opportunity to move to more complex tasks, to more complex processes, to more complex responsibilities, to more ambitious challenges. Each limit we are passing, brings us a feeling of wellness, because we demonstrate to ourselves that we are able to do something, and because we discover a part of our hide talents.

Of course, we can never have a full guarantee to succeed a challenge. There is always a risk of failure. I would like here to underline the importance of the capacity to transform failures into wealth. We learn more often things from our mistakes and failure than from success. A failure is an important feedback, which will help us to understand processes and anticipate situations.

Are there unreachable goals? There are, probably, but it is obvious that each of us we have to create a dynamic. This dynamic is created by the fact we have always projects and goals in the pipeline, projects as a source of motivation for the project in progress. The project in progress is bringing us experiences and capabilities to realize the next one.

The most important thing is not to know how far we could go to face challenges, but to see that each day, we are further than yesterday, we have more control, more potential, we are more confident, that each day, our limits are moving.

Marc Sluszny website: http://www.marcsluszny.com/

Interview of Marc Sluszny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcV8siLwB8s

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 25, 2010 at 19:49

Entrepreneurship, a freedom space?

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Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, a successful entrepreneur.

If some of you are entrepreneurs, you have probably already heard some people saying that when you are entrepreneur or self-employed, you are free to do what you want. Is it true or is it an idea shared by people dreaming to become entrepreneur but who are scared to start such adventure?

To become an entrepreneur is not only a change of social status. The first question to be put is what I want to do in my life, what are my interests, for which reason would I become an entrepreneur? Is it to have a better life, to earn more money, to work in a way you like to work? These are the main questions to be asked because your professional and entrepreneurial life will be a part of your personal life and will have interaction with your private life.

To become entrepreneur means that you will have to manage a range of things. This is an important change compared to an employee. When you work as employee in a company, you are only taking care about the things under your responsibilities. If you are responsible for the accounting, you will not take care about marketing or IT aspects. When you are self-employed, you have to manage everything. You will probably delegate some tasks which are not your core business to more qualified contractors, but do not forget that you have to hold the lead of what you are subcontracting. You are the boss, the owner of your own company and you have the responsibility of the whole processes.

Be aware also that your life as entrepreneur or self-employed will be a range of successive projects. And as you know, a good entrepreneur has always one or two projects in advance. We are living in a fast moving environment, implying to offer the better services based on up-to-date competences. It means that the training aspects are important, and you have to forecast regular training sessions, or time dedicated to read documentation.

And what about the financial aspects? Often, I heard some entrepreneurs having good projects, having customers, who felt in bankruptcy because they neglected the financial aspects. If you are looking to the last 30 years or more, you can see that the trend of the economy is going up and down. When we are in a positive trend, put your earnings in reserve in order to be able to face the more difficult period, and in order too to invest in research and development, to offer new innovative products and services.

Is entrepreneurship a freedom space? It is a fact that by discussing with entrepreneurs, we brought up to the fact that to be entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to realize your project without to be blocked by “political” constraints. By defining a project and fixing objectives, you will be free to choice the most appropriate way to your eyes, to realize the project and to reach the defined target.

The freedom you have to choice the way you will lead your project allows you to be creative, and creativity is a freedom you decide to take. Does it mean that you have all the ingredients to realize your project, by having only the freedom to realize it and to create something? You will probably need some partners, financial partners or technical partners in order to realize the parts of the project you cannot do yourself. These partners will have to be convinced by your project, your ideas. The presentation aspect of your project is important, and it takes a lot of energy and effort to convince the others to support your project, even if you are convinced yourself, which is a necessary condition.

All of us, we saw successful entrepreneurial projects, which are the fruit of efforts and determination. But we saw also other failing projects. To be entrepreneur means always to take some risk. You can of course calculate and evaluate the risks you are or you want to take, but there are always parameters you cannot have under your control. The risk will be also proportional to the scope of your project. It depends also the level of your target and objectives which will be also proportional to the scope of your business. If you want only work 3 days a week instead of a full week, you will earn less money, or you will have to provide higher quality level services if you want to earn the same amount. In this case, you see a proportion between the level of added value services and the income you want to get.

By conclusion, I would say that entrepreneurship is a freedom space, but the most important is to know how you define the freedom. The only freedom you have when you are entrepreneur, is the freedom to choose your constraints.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 19, 2010 at 22:49

Work, a social development tool

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Work, a social development tool.

As member of the board of directors of a non-profit organization dealing with social insertion projects, we were discussing on a board meeting about the social dimension of the work of people of the association. Some employees hired by the organization as room maid, are helping seniors not only to clean their home, but also to make shopping, to go to the pharmacy. These people are not providing a material help, but also a social assistance, and this establishes a real human relationship. In this relationship, both parties are winning. For the seniors who are often alone, the social worker is a presence, a contact they can talk with. For the social worker, this relationship brings a real human added value to his work. He has the feeling that he is doing much more than a simple work, and the fact that the beneficiaries appreciate his presences, contributes to his dignity. This relationship contributes on a positive way to the social life and environment of each other.

This fact made me think about the social role of work, not only in a non-profit organization, but also in companies. Each of us, we are spending probably more time with our colleagues than with our family. A positive day at work is not only the result of reached targets or goals, but also the harmonious relationship we have with our colleagues. There are two conditions to develop positive relationships between collaborators. The first one is to have compatibles tempers. In the opposite of our private life, we cannot choose our colleagues, we have to work with them. Too different tempers can sometimes be an obstacle to the development of positive relationships. The second important point is the work environment and atmosphere in the company. A positive atmosphere is a company will contribute to the wellness of the employees, and will contribute to the development of positive collaborations. But as most of us know, the environment is not positive all the time, when for instance the company is facing crisis times, times where the stress is increasing. This increase of stress and decreasing of wellness can be balanced by a good people management and communication. Each of us, we need to have the feeling that we are part of a team, that our work is recognized by our colleagues, by our management. If we see closer, the management is a tool of social development within an organization. When you define objectives for your team, when you are giving instructions to each team member, you have to be aware about the social dimension of the organization you want to build. You assign tasks or processes to your collaborators in function of their responsibilities and capabilities. By doing so, you give them the opportunity to show what they are able to do, to get a positive feeling of themselves, but also to have a recognized role in the social organization of the company.

If I underline the social dimension of work, it is not only the fact that we have a specific function in a company, but it is important to share things with colleagues, and not only in the work area. To speak another language is interesting to start a conversation with a colleague coming from another country. We can learn about the customs of his country in business, but also cultural and social area, to talk about respective hobbies, passions. All these conversations contribute to share ideas, knowledge, point of view, which is a mutual enrichment.

By giving importance to the social dimension of work, you are clearly aware that people are different from the machines. You are not only giving then instructions by pushing on a button and by expecting only outputs and results, but you are waiting also for suggestions, debates, alternative solutions and ideas. By giving importance about such feedbacks, you can create a positive feeling to your collaborators, you are showing respect for them, you are giving them the opportunity to work in dignity and contributing to their social life development. You are developing also the social dimension of your company where human capital should not be considered as a cost but as an asset.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 2, 2010 at 21:51